Kearney, Neb. – Senior outside hitter Julianne Jackson and junior middle Anna Squiers had 18 kills apiece to help fourth-ranked Nebraska-Kearney beat 10th-ranked Northwest Missouri State (-20, 31-33, -20, -20) in four sets Saturday afternoon in Maryville.
UNK (15, 6-0) remains perfect in 2019 and has now beaten three Top 25 teams – Northwest, No. 13 Central Missouri and No. 5 Washburn – on the road.
To improve to 20-2 all-time against the Bearcats (13-1, 5-1), UNK recorded 107 digs and outhit Northwest by 50 points. Jackson (Bonner Springs, Kan.) and Squiers (Omaha Marian) both had career-high kills totals with Kearney having 65 as a team.
The Lopers never trailed in winning the first and four sets but the middle stanzas featured a combined 18 ties and eight lead changes. Northwest rallied from deficits of 23-20 and 24-22 to take the long second set and tie things up. UNK hit .333 (17-3-42) in the third to regain the lead and then got four kills from Wolfe and freshman outside Sami Mauch (North Platte) to finish off the ‘Cats in the fourth.
Jackson reached her 18 kills in 69 swings (.174 pct.) with Squiers having only 32 attempts (team-high .485 pct.). UNK also got 12 kills from Omaha junior right side Mary Katherine Wolfe and eight kills and a .353 efficiency from Bennington freshman middle Michaela Bartels.
Defensively five Lopers had a double digit dig total including Jackson (11), Stuart junior Mo Schafer (season-high 27) and Lincoln sophomore libero Lindsay Nottlemann (23). Finally, Squiers had seven blocks and Grand Island senior outside Emma Benton had three of UNK’s five aces. Northwest had four players with double digit totals in kills and digs. That group included sophomore libero Hannah Koechl (30 digs) and junior middle Morgan Lewis (14 kills, .520 pct.). The Lopers host Fort Hays State (6-9, 3-4) Tuesday night.